Date Protected: December 22, 2021
Partners: Beaufort County Rural and Critical Lands Program, Department of Defense-REPI program, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, landowners
The permanent protection of 2067.77 acres, known as “Oak Point” on the Wimbee River in the St Helena Sound secures water quality in the St Helena Sound. The conservation easement was funded by the DoD and Beaufort County Rural and Critical Land Preservation Program and is held in partnership between DoD and Beaufort County Open Land Trust. Partners each contributed $2,900,000 for a total land purchase of $5,800,00. This property has been a long–sought–after priority for protection by Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Beaufort. It is located off the north end of MCAS–Beaufort Runway 05/23 and within the Air Installations Compatible Use Zones (AICUZ) noise footprint. In the 2020 Beaufort County “Greenprint,” Oak Point also emerged as the top–tier priority for protection due to its large size and ability to provide critical habitat and stabilize water quality in the St Helena Sound. Oak Point is bound by Barnwell and Wimbee Creeks on the north and by South Wimbee Creek on the south, all of which drain into St. Helena Sound, providing approximately 18 miles of river and tidal creek frontage. Oak Point is located between SCDNR–owned South Williman Island and RCLPP/SCDNR–protected North Williman Island (8,000 acres) and Buzzard Island (120 acres) on the north and surrounded by other protected properties. It represents the last unprotected property immediately adjacent to the St Helena Sound. OLT is proud of this ongoing partnership with our military partners at MCAS–Beaufort and DoD, enabling us all to protect priority parcels like Oak Point and provide for unobstructed flight space and incredible protection for natural resources. This conservation easement successfully adds to the ACE Basin, military readiness, and an entire landscape of protected properties around our thriving communities. Fishers, crabbers, oyster lovers and military teams all enjoy the public benefit from this privately protected property.